National Wreaths Across America Day, Dec. 17: Remembering our fallen veterans during the holidays

Preparations have been underway for the annual tradition of honoring America’s fallen veterans at holiday time — with National Wreaths Across America Day coming up fast already, on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022.

The nonprofit Wreaths Across America helps family members, friends, neighbors and volunteers all across the country lay wreaths at the gravestones of those who have served our country. 

The holiday tradition of honoring America’s lost veterans will take place not only at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia — but at over 3,500 locations across the U.S. and worldwide in 2022.

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Wreaths Across America continues to grow year after year — and it ships millions of wreaths to thousands of locations all around the world. 

“This year we’ve seen extreme growth,” Amber Caron, communications director, told Fox News Digital in a phone interview, expressing excitement about the growth of the meaningful gesture toward America’s fallen veterans. 

Wreaths are shown at the foot of headstones in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, in Arlington, Virginia, during a recent December. Volunteers and families place thousands of remembrance wreaths on headstones across the cemetery — and at thousands of other locations — on National Wreaths Across America Day each year.

Wreaths are shown at the foot of headstones in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, in Arlington, Virginia, during a recent December. Volunteers and families place thousands of remembrance wreaths on headstones across the cemetery — and at thousands of other locations — on National Wreaths Across America Day each year.
(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“Over 500 new locations have signed up to participate in National Wreaths Across America Day,” she said.

“Location,” she explained, can refer to any cemetery in which veterans are buried, a memorial, a town square whose residents want to host a ceremony — or some other site where veterans are honored, respected and remembered. 

There is no cost to become a participating location and host a Wreaths Across America ceremony.

“Basically, they’re saying, ‘We want to bring the mission to remember our veterans'” — and any participating, registered locations, said Caron, “will automatically receive eight ceremonial wreaths” from Wreaths Across America as part of the holiday remembrance  

Each of those wreaths stands for a branch of the military, plus for POWs and MIAs. 

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“For us,” she said, “it’s exciting because people who participate [at one site] then often want to bring the event to their own communities” the following year.

A child is shown carrying a wreath to a grave during the Wreaths Across America annual event at Arlington National Cemetery, on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015, in Arlington, Virginia. 

A child is shown carrying a wreath to a grave during the Wreaths Across America annual event at Arlington National Cemetery, on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015, in Arlington, Virginia. 
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

“And that’s how this continues to grow.”

There is no cost to become a participating location and host a Wreaths Across America ceremony.

Caron noted, “There is a lot of tough stuff going on in the country and in the world. And it goes to show that — no matter what your background is, or your beliefs are — most people can agree on this: Our veterans are worthy of honoring. Their families are worthy of honoring. And it’s important during this holiday season to take time out to say ‘thank you.’”

All year long, Wreaths Across America does work for living veterans as well — to “remember, honor and teach” people about veterans’ dedication to our country.

Caron also said they’re bringing in new groups each year and working with new partners and different organizations.

She also emphasized that all year long, Wreaths Across America does work for living veterans as well — to “remember, honor and teach” people across the country about our veterans and their dedication to the country. 

“There are many ways for people to be involved all year ’round,” she said.

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Participating organizations can raise money and funds for their veterans and their own work — “and those funds are making a difference” throughout the year, said Caron.  

Wreaths lay covered in snow next to markers at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on Jan. 6, 2015, after a small winter storm.  

Wreaths lay covered in snow next to markers at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on Jan. 6, 2015, after a small winter storm.  
(Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

“In many homes, there is an empty seat for [a loved] one who is serving or one who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” the organization notes on its website.

“There is no better time to express our appreciation than during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. We hope you will join us at any of our … participating locations to show our veterans and their families that we will not forget. We will never forget,” the organization also says.

“There is no better time to express our appreciation than during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.”

Caron said that this year, Wreaths Across America is expecting some three million volunteers to come out nationally to lay wreaths at veterans’ graves and burial sites for the holidays on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022. 

Any VFW, American Legion or other organization that would like to help its own local veterans throughout the year — as well as participate in National Wreaths Across America Day on Dec. 17, 2022 — can go to the nonprofit’s website at www.wreathsacrossamerica.org to learn more.

A veteran holds the hand of a child as they honor America's deceased veterans in a cemetery — with all gravesites adorned with a holiday wreath thanks to Wreaths Across America.

A veteran holds the hand of a child as they honor America’s deceased veterans in a cemetery — with all gravesites adorned with a holiday wreath thanks to Wreaths Across America.
(Wreaths Across America)

“It’s an event for the community — plus people can learn more about the veterans in their local community … and that includes the children. Kids can learn what veterans have done,” said Caron.

There is still plenty of time to sign up, by the way, for National Wreaths Across America Day this year. 

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Added Sean Sullivan, public relations manager for Wreaths Across America, “This organization started as just one family who wanted to make a kind gesture toward veterans at Arlington National Cemetery. And so many people loved the idea of what they were doing — and they were the ones who have grown this organization and built it to what it is today.”

He added, “It is really word of mouth” that has helped grow the group.

Karen Worcester is executive director of Wreaths Across America. She and her husband, Morrill Worcester, who founded the nonprofit organization, remain actively involved in WAA and its multitude of efforts to this day. 

Karen Worcester is executive director of Wreaths Across America. She and her husband, Morrill Worcester, who founded the nonprofit organization, remain actively involved in WAA and its multitude of efforts to this day. 
(Fox News)

The organization’s mobile education exhibit, by the way, starts its national tour in California in mid-January. 

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It’s a museum on wheels, essentially, the organization says. It has a small movie theater and exhibits and activities for kids, and operates as a “welcome home” unit for many veterans in America, especially Vietnam veterans who generally were not welcomed home and respected when they first returned from war.

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Morrill Worcester, founder of Wreaths Across America and owner of Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington, Maine — his wife Karen Worcester, who is executive director — remain actively involved to this day.

Added Caron, “Morrill still donates all of the wreaths that go to all of the locations.”

For more information and to learn how to participate, anyone can visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org

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